The caption reads: “I wasn’t looking at the welding arc. May I now lick the frozen iron?” (Photo credit: Maxim Russia)
Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has been making the rounds lately to promote the upcoming Olympics and his (Gilette-sponsored) “steely character.” Last week, Ovechkin spoke to R-Sport about his impressive car collection and how his parents remain confused as to why he needs more than one car.
This week, Ovechkin strapped into a robot suit for Maxim Russia and yapped about more fascinating things. Ovechkin detailed his training regimen and how much he does or does not lift weights during the season, he mis-remembered where the phrase “Russian machine never breaks” comes from, and he revealed the last time he was scared.
Below, Igor Kleyner has your translation.
Also, sorry but I’m gonna go ahead and drop this YouTube right here. It goes too perfectly with Maxim’s image.
Let’s talk about something sad: during the last Olympics, Team Russia lost to Canadians 7-3. The Worlds – they lost to the Americans 8-3. Who should we expect a 9-3 loss in Sochi from?
The Olympics, it was just not our day. I try to forget about it, so thank you very much for reminding me. And the loss to Americans [at Worlds]… we were playing against the kids from the block–juniors, yesterday’s college players. But at the same time – good professionals, future NHL players. They fought for their honor. And we allowed an incredible number of unforced errors. We lost to ourselves. Under no circumstances should the loss be blamed on our coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov. He did make us champions in 2012. Maybe it is even for the best that we flopped so badly during the Worlds. There is still time until February to fix the problems.
Yes, please, don’t disappoint. By the way, how much do you bench press?
I don’t like to do that stuff. As is, I weigh over a hundred kilos. If I start going to the gym regularly, I’ll become a monster. I never do bench press during the season, or any shoulder or arm exercises. I do work a bit on my legs. I think I can squat 180-200 kilos (440 pounds). But as a hockey player, you can’t overdo that. You lose elasticity of your muscles, become wooden – like Pinocchio.
What was the hardest exercise you ever had to do?
Coach Vladimir Krikunov, who worked with me when I was with Dinamo, has this patented exercise. They take a tire from KamAZ, strap it to the player, and he is skating on the ice. And another man is inside the tire. Sometimes two.
We can guess that hockey players are not afraid of anything. But nevertheless: was there ever a moment in your life when you felt scared?
Of course! When I was driving 250 km/hr (155 MPH). I found this track in Russia. But it was a long time ago, I was young. No way would I drive like that now.
The NHL’s two pillars with hockey sticks are Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby. At the same time, you are often criticized by American analysts.
It happens. For example, the start of the last season wasn’t the most remarkable. We had a new coach Adam Oates, we were changing our system. Everybody was taking a shot at me. But if you are going to read all the positive and negative articles about yourself, there is a good chance you’ll go crazy. You can just make an appointment with a neurologist [Editor's note: psychiatrist?] if you are going to take such criticism to heart.
Sometimes you have a good last word. The phrase “Russian Machine Never Breaks” – did you come up with that?
Yeah, I did say something like that after the game against Montreal [Ed. note: January 31, 2008]. I broke my nose, there was a fountain of blood. I got so angry, I scored four goals, including the winning goal. The whole stadium in Washington was just going nuts!
So how many times was your nose broken?
Five. The first one was the most painful. It happened when I was at Dinamo, I still had to wear a cage. All players under 18 must wear this full face metal cage mask. We were playing against Amur, or maybe Sibir, I can’t remember. So I was on the bench, and I took off the mask. The head coach Bilyaletdinov, he was working with Dinamo then, told me: “Why did you do that? What if a puck flies here?” And that’s exactly what happened.
How did you lose your tooth?
I think it happened during my second NHL season. We were playing against Atlanta. Someone awkwardly swung his stick – and boom! I am going to fix it as soon as I am done with hockey. Right now it’s pointless: they’ll knock it out again. In hockey pucks fly like bullets.
But you are not totally indifferent to how you look. You advertise a razor…
That is because Gillette razor and I have the same goal – we want to be the best in the world. I like its steely character. It is just like mine.
If you could change one thing about Russian hockey, what would it be?
Arenas. I would build modern stadiums for twenty thousand spectators throughout the country, just like in Canada and the United States. For now, we don’t have that.
We know that you are one of the highest paid hockey players in the world, but would like to share this sensational news with you: they say the hockey players are getting paid better in Russia now. Give us one reason for you staying in the NHL.
I want to win the Stanley Cup. It’s just as difficult as winning the Olympics. But we have a chance.
What is your relationship with money?
I try to spend money in a thoughtful way. I know how hard it is to make it. So I am not going to throw money around. Although sometimes I do buy something and then ask myself: what for?
What is the most ridiculous rumor you have heard about yourself?
That I cancelled our wedding with Masha Kirilenko. That is, at first I picked the date, and then changed my mind. And in general, the reporters are funny, creative guys. I promise you: you will find out about the wedding personally from me. I will write about it on Twitter.
Thanks to @KolschAtMidnite who first tweeted us the story.